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Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST

MOTEL DEATH

Ft. Bragg soldier charged in South Carolina motel death

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) - A soldier stationed at Ft. Bragg has been charged in the death of a woman whose body was found in a South Carolina motel.
Local media outlets report 19-year-old Chandler Dunmeyer of Summerville has been charged with murder.
Myrtle Beach police say officers were called to a Myrtle Beach motel around 1:15 a.m. Monday and found 20-year-old Colee Muirhead of Myrtle Beach.
It wasn't immediately clear if Dunmeyer had an attorney. The 82nd Airborne Public Affairs Office at Fort Bragg released a statement confirming Dunmeyer's military connection.

BEE DEATHS

N. Carolina keeper suspects foul play in 500K bee deaths

(Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com)

ZEBULON, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina beekeeper is searching for answers after finding hundreds of thousands of her bees dead around her hives.
WRAL-TV reports that Shannon Baxter found about 500,000 dead bees in piles in Zebulon on Jan. 21.
Baxter says the hives were healthy and warm when last checked. Now, only about half a dozen are alive.
Baxter owns Baxter's Bees, a family business that produces honey and bees wax. She says some of the hives were turned, shifted and damaged.
Samples of the bees are at the Food Drug Administration for testing to find out what caused their deaths.
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FLU DEATHS-NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina health officials report 21 flu deaths in week

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - State health officials say 21 people died from the flu in North Carolina last week, among them a victim between 5 and 17 years old.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported Thursday that in addition to the 21 deaths, four more deaths in previous weeks were determined to be flu-related. For the 2017-18 flu season, 67 people have died in the state.
As for the child, the report neither released an identity nor provided an age.
Of the 67 deaths, 42 were ages 65 and older, 18 were between 50 to 64, and four were from 25 to 49. The remaining three were listed as pediatric deaths.
To stem the rise in flu cases, hospitals across North Carolina are restricting access to visitors 12 and under.

RECORDS LAWSUIT

NC House member sued over public records requests

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina resident unhappy with responses to his records requests by a legislator is now suing the state House member for those documents.
The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union represents Craig Merrill of Kitty Hawk in his lawsuit filed Thursday against first-term Republican Rep. Beverly Boswell.
The lawsuit alleges Boswell has declined repeatedly to provide "official communications" between her office and people and businesses within her coastal district.
Attached to the lawsuit are emails in which Boswell's office or an attorney for House Speaker Tim Moore told Merrill those documents and communications aren't public records under legislative immunity. But ACLU attorney Chris Brook writes in the Wake County lawsuit that laws cited by Moore's attorney don't govern the records sought by Merrill.

PRISON-ATTEMPTED ESCAPE

Report: Understaffing, corners cut at prison where 4 died

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A federal report says understaffing was so bad at a North Carolina prison where four employees were killed during the deadliest breakout attempt in state history that workers cut corners in ways that created opportunities for mayhem.
The security assessment of Pasquotank Correctional Institution by the National Institute of Corrections was released Thursday. The arm of the U.S. Justice Department was called in after October's deadly escape attempt.
The report says workers at the Elizabeth City prison were forced to maintain oversight and prison services despite one in four jobs being vacant, adding they consequently grew complacent about security measures. It adds understaffed prison workers fell short on conducting required strip searches, keeping track of tools and hazardous chemicals, and finding hiding places outside the view of prison video cameras.

STEIN-COLLEGE TOUR

Stein talks student loans, drug abuse, assaults on campus

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has started a series of appearances on college campuses to speak about issues facing students.
Stein held his first event Thursday at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Stein, other Department of Justice attorneys and school leaders talked about student loan challenges, as well as sexual assault and alcohol and prescription drug abuse.
Stein participated in panel discussions and met students. He says the events are designed to get helpful information to young people so that they'll be able to protect themselves.
Stein's office says future campus sites will be announced as they are scheduled.

SNOWSTORM-SAMARITAN KILLED

Man sentenced for killing would-be helper during snowstorm

NEWTON, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina man who opened fire on a group trying to help him from a stranded car during a snowstorm will serve a dozen years in prison for killing one of the Good Samaritans.
Twenty-nine-year-old Marvin Jacob Lee pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder and discharging a weapon into an occupied vehicle.
His lawyer, Victoria Jayne, said he was sentenced to between 14 and 19 years in prison, but will be credited for time served in jail.
Authorities say Jefferson Heavner was shot after he and others came to help when Lee was found in a car on the side of a snowy Catawba County road in 2016. According to investigators, the group believed Lee was intoxicated and tried to take the car keys before he became belligerent.

AUDIT-COLLEGE HOLIDAYS

Audit: Community colleges should limit paid holidays

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Lots of North Carolina community college employees will be having fewer "happy holidays," or at least paid ones.
A state audit released Thursday found more than half of the state's 58 community colleges give their workers more paid holidays than the 12 that state and county employees receive.
In one case, State Auditor Beth Wood found Central Carolina Community College gave workers 23 paid days off, equal to $862,000 in pay during the last fiscal year.
Central Carolina's leadership said they did so to reward workers without raising their actual salaries.
The audit finds that the state community college board hadn't adopted a policy limiting campus holidays. The state community college board chairman and acting president say the board will approve a rule soon requiring the 12-day limit.


AP-WF-01-26-18 1120GMT


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